Provided by: xarchon_0.50-9build1_i386
xarchon - ARCHON clone for X11
In this game, the Light Side and Dark Side fight over control of a
chess-like board. Each side is composed of 18 fantastic creatures of
myth and legend, which are represented by images (or icons). While not
identical, the opposing sides are balanced in strength.
This manual page is composed of two main parts. The first one
describes the rules of X ARCHON. The second part describes how to
interact with the graphical user interface.
There are two modes of game play: board and field mode. When in board
mode, you select which creature (or piece) you want to move, and where
to move it to, in a way somewhat similiar to chess.
However, in X ARCHON, merely moving a creature onto a square occupied
by a foe does not win the battle. At this point, game play changes to
field mode, and a battle begins. The surviving creature is returned to
the board, in control of the disputed square.
There are two ways to win the game. The first, easier way is to have
creatures of your side occupying the five power points (see section
SQUARES for more information).
The second, more difficult way is by leaving your opponent no legal
move to make. This can by killing all their creatures, or imprisoning
(see section SPELLS for more information) their last surviving
destroy all the creatures of the opposing side.
The board is composed of 9 by 9 squares. Not all squares look the
same. The appearance of a square tells about its nature.
Game play in board mode is turn-based: while one player is making a
move, the other side waits. In each turn, a player can either move a
single creature from one square to another (see the section on
movement) or cast a spell (see the section on spells).
Light, dark, and luminance squares: Light squares are always light,
dark squares are always dark, but the shade of luminance squares slowly
changes from light to dark and back to light, in accordance with the
It is preferable for a creature to rest on a square having the color of
its side; see the section on field play for more information.
The lower right corner of the board display shows some useful
information about the luminosity cycle. The direction ("+" or "-")
indicator shows the direction of the luminosity cycle. A + indicates
the cycle grows lighte, a - indicates it grows darker. The side (L or
D) indicator tells you which side benefits from resting on a luminance
square at that time: L for light, and D for dark. And finally, the
state (digits 1 through 6) indicator discloses the exact value of the
luminosity cycle, with 1 indicating the lightest possible luminosity,
and 6 indicating the darkest.
Power points: Five squares on the board have special markings; a
creature resting on a square that is a power point heals twice as fast
as it would on any other kind of square. Such a creature is also
immune to magical attacks; see the section on spells for more
To select a creature, use your controls to move the cursor to the
requested creature, then press fire to select it. Then use your
controls to move the creature to where you want it to go, and press
fire again to complete the move.
A creature may travel only up to a certain distance per turn, and the
move you make will be restricted to this limit. Not all creatures have
the same limit; some can only move up to 3 squares away from their
starting position, while others may move as far as 5 squares.
Creatures belong to either of two classes. If the creature you select
is of the ground class, you cannot move it through squares occupied by
other creatures at all (although you may move it into a square occupied
by a foe). Fly creatures, on the other hand, are not limited in this
way, and may move through any square, wheather it is occupied or not.
Whatever the class of the creature is--ground or fly--it can only end
its move in a square that is either empty, or occupied by a foe. In
the latter case, the game play will change to field mode.
Two creatures on the board posses the ability to cast magic spells.
These creatures are the mages: the light wizard and the dark sorceress.
Spells are cast in place of a regular movement. This means that in a
single, a mage can move, or he or she can cast a spell, but never both
things at once.
There are seven different kinds of spells. As the game begins, all of
the seven spells are available to each mage. However, once a spell is
cast by a mage, that particular mage cannot cast that particular spell
again throughout the game.
Teleport: Moves a creature of your choice from one square to any other
square that you select, regardless of the distance between the two
squares. You can only move unimprisoned creatures on your own side,
and neither the source nor the destination square may be a power point.
Heal: Instantly and completely heal a creature of your choice. Its
health is restored to the level it was at when the game started.
Shift Time: When the luminosity cycle is at its lightest or darkest
peak, it is abruptly shifted to the opposite side. Otherwise, this
spell merely changes the direction of the luminosity cycle.
Exchange: Swap places between any two creatures you select, regardless
of the distance between them. There is no restriction on the side of
either creature. However, neither creature can be imprisoned or on a
Summon Elemental: Bring forth a spirit of one of the four elements of
nature (air, earth, fire or water) to battle an opposing creature of
your choice. The elemental and the opposing creature will engage in a
battle as usual. However, once the battle is over, the elemental
vanishes--even if it won. You can not choose which elemental will
appear, and you cannot use an elemental for anything other than
engaging battle. You also cannot attack a creature resting on a power
Revive: Resurrect and bring back to the board a single creature, per
your selection, that was previously lost in battle is resurrected. The
creature is also healed, but that does not cost you a heal spell. The
creature will be placed besides your mage, so there must be at least
one square vacant around the mage.
Imprison: Temporarily bind an opposing creature of your choice to the
square it is resting on at the time of the spell. The creature will be
able to defend itself during battle; but on the board, it won’t be
able to leave its square. The effect of imprisonment wears off for
light side creatures when the luminosity cycle is at its lightest peak;
similiarly, dark creatures will become free when the cycle is at its
Cease conjuring: This is not a spell, but merely a way to tell the game
you have changed your mind, and don’t really want to cast any spells at
this time. Since it’s not really a spell, it never becomes
By turn end, if any two creatures rest on the same square (by result of
either plain movement or some spell), the game goes into field mode,
and a battle begins between the two creatures.
This battle is fought entirely within the square the two opposing sides
are interested in. However, since the squares on the board are pretty
small and it would be hard to see anything, the single square is
expanded to the size of the display.
There are a few basic rules in field play, and these will be described
MOVEMENT AND ATTACK
The game is not turn-based in field mode; rather, any action either of
the creatures makes--such as to move somewhere, or attack in some
direction--is instantly performed.
Movement is possible in all 8 surrounding directions. Most creatures
move at the same speed, however a few move somewhat slower. To move,
press a direction key to indicate where you want your creature to go.
Attacking is also possible in all 8 sorrunding directions. There are
three basic kinds of attacks, which are detailed below. To attack,
hold down the fire key, and press a direction key to indicate where you
want your creature to attack.
Short-range: your creature uses a typical "cold" weapon to hurt its
opponent. For such an attack to have any meaning, the two creatures
must be adjacent. A creature attacked in this way loses some of its
health, and becomes frozen for a short period of time.
Circular: your creature causes a circular area of some small radius
around it to become harmful to the opponent. If the opponent enters
this area, it will gradually lose health until the attack is complete.
It will not become frozen.
Missile: your creature fires a shot, preferably in the general
direction of your opponent. There is no need for the two creatures to
be close to one another. Not all missiles are the same; some are
faster, while others are more damaging. A creature attacked by a shot
loses some of its health, and becomes frozen for a short period of
Once a creature attacks, it cannot instantly attack again. A short
period of "reload" time is required. (Even in the case of a "cold"
weapons such as a sword or a rock, your creature cannot repeatedly
attack without a little rest in between.)
The instant you attack, a red bar appears on your side of the screen.
This bar indicates how long you must wait before your creature can
attack again. As time passes, this bar decreases in size. Once the
bar disappears, you may attack again.
All creatures that are alive are at some level of health. The exact
level of health is indicated by the outtermost bar on each side of the
screen. The goal of a creature is to cause enough damage to its
opponent, such that the opponent’s health becomes zero, and it is
removed from the board.
It is important to note that the winning creature will not be healed at
all the time it returns to the board. Thus, even the strongest of
creatures may eventually be defeated by a horde of attackers.
But the health of a creature at the beginning of a battle may be
determined by more than just its own health: of the two creatures, one
of them receives a bonus, depending on the color of the square. Light
squares will boost the initial health of light creatures; similiarly,
dark squares will boost dark creatures.
In this bonus calculation, squares that are always light or always dark
give the most bonus, while squares that participate in the luminosity
cycle give a bonus that is proportional to how close the square is to
the peak of the cycle. In other words, light creatures would benefit
the most from luminance squares when the cycle is at is lightest peak;
and dark creatures would benefit the most when the cycle is at its
Inside the square over which you and your opponent are fighting are
rocks. These rocks are visible only in the field screen.
Much like the luminance squares on the board, the rocks participate in
a luminosity cycle: each slowly changes from light to dark and back to
light. Most of the time, the rocks are solid. However, when the
luminance approaches the lightest peak of the cycle, it becomes
possible to slowly walk or shoot past it.
THE GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACE
The graphical user interface is your means of telling the progam
exactly how you want to play. Using the GUI, you can:
- define players, select two players to play on either side; - select a
graphical theme (although currently there is only one theme to choose
from); - start and end games; - and toggle sound.
the program has a concept of "players." A player is merely a
collection of configuration choices. For example, one configuration
choice is who plays for this player (a human at the console, the
computer, or perhaps it is played through the network).
Use the menu option Define Players in the Settings menu to open the
Define Players dialog window. In this window, you may insert, delete
or update players.
Insert and delete operations are pretty much self-explanatory, as there
are two buttons that will take perform these tasks.
Updating means changing a player’s name, or its kind, or specifically
configuring it. The former two are done simply by typing a into the
name entry box and selecting one of the "kind" radio buttons,
respectively. The latter is done by clicking on the configuration
button, which brings a specific configuration window. The content of
this window is described below.
Once you have configured the players as needed, click on the OK button
to actually make changes. Alternatively, if you change your mind,
clicking on the Cancel button will undo all of these changes.
Human configuration: The human configuration window lets you set the
keyboard/joystick/mouse controls for the player. You may configure
different controls for the light and dark side of the same player, so
you can later choose it to play for both sides. (In other words, you
don’t have to define two human players for a two-player game.)
Alternatively, you may define controls once for both sides.
The "Side" option menu allows you to decide which side (light, dark or
both) is going to be affected by the next keyboard binding you make.
The "Action" option menu selects which action you are going to bind,
and finally, clicking on the "Key" button lets you type in the key you
want bound to the selected action for the selected side (or sides).
The last option menu is used to say if a joystick or mouse may be used
in addition to the keyboard controls.
Computer configuration: The computer configuration window is pretty
simple. Radio buttons let you select a difficulty level for the
computer: easy, medium or hard.
There is a checkbox which lets you specify that you want the old, rule-
based computer board logic. In effect, enabling this checkbox means
this computer player will play rather poorly on the board. (This
checkbox has no effect on the way the computer plays in field mode.)
Network configuration: The network configuration window lets configure
the game for playing over the network. The network model dictates that
the light side is always the "server", which waits for a connection to
be made, and dark side is the "client", which makes the initial
Therefore, the IP address that is configurable in this window is only
meaningful for players that will be selected to play the dark side, as
they would need to know the address to connect to.
The port number, however, has to be filled in by both sides. Both
sides must also set the exact same number for the connection to be
Once you are comfortable with your players, use the menu option Select
Players in the Settings menu to open the Select Players dialog window.
This window lets you select which player is going to play for the light
side, and which is going to play for the dark side.
You may also choose which side goes first using the two radio buttons
provided for this purpose. Please note that the network model dictates
that the light side always goes first, and so these radio buttons have
no effect on networked games.
Click OK to accept the selection you’ve made, or Cancel to undo any
changes you may have made.
Use the menu option New in the Game menu to begin a new game. If no
network players have been selected to play for either side, the game
will immediately begin. Otherwise, the light side will enter "server"
mode and wait for the "client"--the dark side--to connect to it. Only
when a connection has been made will the game actually start.
The user interface disappears while playing the game. To return to it,
press the Escape key. The Settings menu will then be disabled,
preventing you from making any modifications to the players or graphics
while a game is active. However, you will be able to stop the game in
progress, unpause it, or exit the progarm altogether, using the menu
options Stop, Unpause and Exit, respectively, of the Game menu.
Another way to return to the GUI while playing the game is the F12 key,
which also stops the current game. It is equivalent to pressing Escape
and then selecting the menu option Stop from the Game menu.
Note that pausing a network game is not possible, and so the only way
to return to the GUI is using F12, which also ends the game.
Also note that the game does not automatically return to the GUI after
either side has won. Instead, it leaves you starting at the board.
Pressing Escape or F12 at this point will yield the same result, which
is getting you back to the GUI.
Ronen Tzur <email@example.com>
Copyright (C) 1999 Ronen Tzur
Based on an original game by Anne Westfall, Jon Freeman, and Paul
This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it
under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the
Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your
option) any later version.
This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but
WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU
General Public License for more details.
You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along
with this program; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc.,
59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA